Teen killed in Pacific Coast Highway accident mourned

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Friends say a heavy lesson is learned from the accident, which involved alcohol.

By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor

More than 1,500 people on Saturday attended the Westlake Village funeral of 17-year-old Cody Murphy, who was killed in a car accident last week on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

Murphy was killed instantly and three other teens were injured last Tuesday night when the Subaru station wagon he was driving rolled over on Pacific Coast Highway near Encinal Canyon Road. Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station officials said the preliminary investigation suggested Murphy was speeding, and they suspect alcohol and drugs played a part in the crash.

Murphy was a junior at Newbury Park High School. A 17-year-old girl, also a Newbury student, was flown to UCLA Medical Center with severe head trauma. Malibu Lost Hills Sgt. Phil Brooks said the girl, whose name was not released, was alert and responsive on Monday, and was expected to be taken off a ventilator this week.

“It’s a good sign she’s responsive to commands,” Brooks said. “It means she was not severely brain-damaged.”

Two male teen passengers were also injured and sent to the hospital. One suffered a hip fracture and the other a spinal fracture. They were released from the hospital last week. A third male teen passenger was treated at the scene of the accident and released.

The incident occurred at about 10:20 p.m. when the vehicle hit an embankment at approximately 90 mph, Brooks said. The vehicle flipped several times, and landed upside down.

All westbound and one eastbound Pacific Coast Highway lanes were closed until the next morning so an investigation could be conducted in daylight.

Brooks said the passengers told investigators everybody in the vehicle had been drinking at a club in Hollywood and later at the Santa Monica Pier. Brooks said an empty bottle of Jagermeister was found in the vehicle, as well as a marijuana pipe and a bag of medicinal marijuana. The coroner and investigators could smell alcohol on Murphy’s body, Brooks said.

A popular member of the high school football team, Murphy’s friends described him as a likable person.

“He was just somebody who didn’t have anybody who didn’t like him,” Rachel Labonte said.

Sean Henson called Murphy “hilarious” and “always loud and funny.”

“He was always making a joke out of everything,” Henson said. “It was always a good time with him because he was so funny.”

Henson said Murphy was not a heavy drinker, “no more than any other high school student,” he said.

Henson said he was surprised to hear how Murphy died.

Labonte also said she was surprised, and said people should learn from this that there are consequences to actions. “But he shouldn’t be looked at as a bad person,” she said. “Everyone makes mistakes, they just don’t have the same consequences.”

Henson said he believes the people who attended the funeral learned a lesson.

“It’s so obvious that there’s not a single person in the entire place [Calvary Community Church] that’s ever going to drink and drive,” Henson said. “This is one kid that will affect every single person.”

In a MySpace posting on Murphy’s home page, one friend, Derek Avery, wrote: “Life is a precious gift that we are all given. You made mine that much better, and this is a terrible weight to bear.”